Whether you are a soon to be graduating senior, a parent researching Christian colleges for your son or daughter, or someone who is considering returning to school, you may have questions about the basic elements behind a Christian education.
Of course, every school has its own special purpose and vision; however, many Christian colleges and universities’ main purpose is to educate as well as teach you the ability to recognize Christ in each subject you are studying.
What is a Christian Education?
Simply put, it is a type of education where the truths of God’s Word come first. Christian education combines a comprehensive and stimulating class syllabus with biblical principles. While some colleges will prepare a student for just his or her career, and others prepare a student for the outside world, a Christian education has the potential to accomplish both. In addition, it can help prepare students to be a positive influence in the people around them.
In addition to pursuing almost any major at a Christian college, you may also begin examining deeper questions such as:
- What is the purpose of life?
- What’s the truth in the world around me?
- How can I be a transforming influence in society?
- How can I use God’s Word as my standard of truth?
These aspects of education are typically not considered at non-Christian colleges. The general philosophy behind most Christian education is to help you understand that God should be at the center of all academic quests, in addition to preparing you to be a light to others. We’ve put together an overview of some of the fundamental elements you may encounter if you move forward with your Christian education.
Christian College Educators
When researching potential Christian colleges, you may want to look into the school’s board, faculty, administration, and staff.
- Are they committed followers of Christ?
- Will you be taught by professors who are leading and educating from a biblical perspective?
- Do they put an emphasis on bringing Christ’s teachings to the community, both on and off campus?
According to the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)1, an essential element of Christian education is that the school’s personnel should aim to model Christ in their life and their teachings, in addition to focusing on achieving the school’s mission and supporting its core values. What sets Christian college professors apart from public and non-religion based teachers is the combination of challenging students with their schoolwork and teaching each subject using God’s Word as its foundation.
Christian College and University Students
Each year, thousands of students make the decision to attend a Christian college, even those who consider themselves non-Christian. Students learn to focus on how to interpret God’s Word, while also mastering real-world skills such as communication, reasoning and critical thinking, evaluating, analyzing, and properly using information. College is the time that a young person builds the foundations of their future, and attending a Christian college can help make Christ’s teachings a large part of that foundation, as well as keep students aware of their responsibilities to their community.
Compassion is another important element to a student’s development and revolves around the belief that God’s compassion for His creation is unending and is unconditional. Christ takes center stage in this type of curriculum, emphasizing the importance of each person’s relationship with Jesus and that all areas of life should be centered on Christ. Students may not be used to thinking and living this way and a Christian faculty and administration may be useful to make these principles a part of life.
The Community at a Christian College
It’s natural to wonder about what type of community you will be exposed to and how you will interact with others if you attend a Christian college. Some Christian colleges may require their students to attend a certain number of church services during their enrollment, while others offer more freedom to students. Chapel services can offer you a chance to worship with your classmates, professors, and college staff. Each school’s requirements on chapel attendance will vary, but keep in mind it is a great opportunity to build closer relationships and learn more about God and the bible.
In addition, many Christian universities and bible colleges have a variety of programs, clubs and organizations that can help you spread the word about your faith to others and have a number of ways you can get involved via community service projects. For example, if you have a love for music or singing, you can consider joining the school’s worship team. Do you love writing or illustration? If so, consider volunteering for the college’s newspaper, blog, or social media sites. If helping others and offering some of your free time interests you, you may want to inquire about volunteering at the college’s chapel services, prayer group, or on-campus events.
No matter what activity you choose to participate in, you can find an environment similar to non-Christian colleges but with an added interest and commitment to faith and community. With so many options available to you based on your major, beliefs and location, you can find the Christian college that suits both your academic and spiritual goals.